Eye EYE (c) 2016 Pixabay / cocoparisienne https://pixabay.com/en/eye-blue-eye-iris-pupil-face-1173863/ There was some interesting research published this week. Pecan AI took a strong look at how predictive analytics is failing the marketing function. Other research comes from Genie AI, ManageEngine, Mediafly, Procore, Oracle, OutSystems, SAP and Xero.

Genie AI

Genie AI has published its Legal Gender Bias Report 2022. The report is based on the findings from analysis of the thousands of global commercial and corporate contracts it holds on its database. 63% of contracts are gender biased. Examples include: himself used 88% more than herself. Chairman used 250 times more than Chairwoman. While the use of the Chairperson has quintupled, the use of the Chairman has tripled. The report does highlight a slow transition to gender-neutral terms, though.

The article also provides evidence of how the government and the legal profession advocate using gender-neutral terms. It also offers some advice on how to go about it.

ManageEngine

In its second IT at Work: 2022 and Beyond study, ManageEngine found that business and technology leaders in the US and Canada are increasingly dissatisfied with their roles and organisation. The key findings from the report included:

  • 58% of North American IT Leaders Are Actively Seeking a New Job
  • 88% of North American business and technology leaders believe IT is more responsible for business innovation than ever before
  • Nearly 81% of IT decision-makers think their company should have supported them more in the last two years
  • 85% of respondents agree IT could drive even greater innovation in the business if they had a stronger leadership position.
  • 48% of IT leaders would quit their current job without flexible work options, and 45% would quit if there were no ability to advance in their career

Vijay Sundaram, chief strategy officer of Zoho Corporation, commented, “Over the last few years, IT teams have proven indispensable to business innovation and continuity, yet senior management has been reluctant to bring them into larger corporate decisions. But the role of IT in organizations will only grow and become more decentralized as more lines of business, especially those with no time to wait on the IT department, deploy IT to meet rapidly changing market requirements. Yet this will require the expertise and involvement of ITDMs to identify appropriate technologies and meet corporate guidelines in areas like compliance, privacy and security. Oddly, decentralization could actually make IT leaders even more strategic.”

Mediafly

The Future of Revenue Enablement 2022 Benchmark Report from Mediafly highlights the shortcomings of traditional sales enablement. The report highlights that only 58% of sales teams, have deployed sales enablement, and many have not modernised or even digitised their operations in many cases. There is a disconnect from sales to other functions, only 21% include customer services, and a mere 10% extends to marketing teams. Only 19% use sales enablement technology, highlighting the issue succinctly. Furthermore, 48% of salespeople do not attain their sales quota.

The report highlights the state of sales enablement and considers how sales coaching, revenue enablement platforms and execution-focused sales technology can help businesses.

Carson Conant, founder and CEO of Mediafly, commented, “The top three impacts of Sales Enablement include sales cycle time, quota achievement, and win rates. Yet 42% of companies don’t have a Sales Enablement program. And companies deploying traditional Sales Enablement are missing the boat. Our research suggests that more companies would benefit from embracing a Sales Enablement platform as a tool to drive sales and as a resource for training commercial teams and reinforcing best practices to improve performance. This full-scale Revenue Enablement, with specialized coaching, value selling and the right tech and insights across the revenue journey, is necessary to succeed in today’s market.”

Oracle

An Oracle Retail consumer research study indicates that shoppers are concerned about rising prices and smaller budgets. 77% of shoppers plan to shop early, and 60% will spend less than normal. However, it is not all doom and gloom for retailers, with 71% saying that they would consider financing or a payment plan. For retailers, having the right price will be critical as 47% say that cost will be the main factor in moving them from a browser to a buyer.

Mike Webster, senior vice president and general manager of Oracle Retail, commented, “Next to inventory availability, price is the leading factor in how and where consumers will shop this holiday season. For retailers still dealing with the constant loop of limited inventory supplies or surpluses, getting merchandise and pricing strategies right will be make or break when it comes to managing margins and customer expectations.”

The report also looks at buyer and retailer behaviour. Pricing is the top concern for buyers, but they are also concerned with inventory levels and delivery options. Home delivery is still the most popular (56%). While social media is important, there is a decline in the importance of social influencers in decision-making with only 12% of consumers noting that seeing their favourite influencers suggest a product would make them buy.

Another concerning trend is that rather than regift, more than half of consumers are likely to return unwanted gifts, and 30% would return half of them. This might make December and January tougher months for many retailers.

OutSystems

The OutSystems Developer Engagement Report: Are Your Developers Happy or Halfway Out The Door? It draws on data from 860 global developers from different backgrounds to identify developer satisfaction and retention trends and provide best practices for IT leaders to avoid developer burnout and turnover.

Key findings include:

  • 64% of respondents say they “love” their jobs, yet only 46% say they are very satisfied with the day-to-day elements of their jobs
  • However, 42% of respondents feel that they can get a better job
  • 48% of developers said they would definitely be with their current company a year from now, only 29% in two years
  • More US developers feel they have a better work-life balance
  • Low-code developers are happier and also have a better work-life balance
  • 71% of low-code users said they could stick to the typical 40-hour work week, compared to only 44% of traditional developers
  • 63% of low-code developers indicate they are happy with their salary and benefits compared to 40% of traditional developers

Gonçalo Gaiolas, chief product officer of OutSystems, commented, “We continue to be amazed by how IT leaders and developers around the globe continue to innovate in the face of challenges. However, with a global talent shortage of over one million developers, IT leaders will not be able to hire their way out of the challenges they face in response to the insatiable appetite for building high-performance, quality software.

“Instead, they need technologies that will optimize resources, alleviate workloads, and supercharge developer productivity. IT leaders who understand the benefits of various tools can support advanced development techniques, including specific developer coding preferences, while easing the friction, toil, and resource issues that continually test developer motivation and frustration.”

Procore

Procore has released a Whitepaper titled Keeping Up With the Data Centre Boom that looks at the current trends in the data centre construction sector. The whitepaper looks at several key topics, including:

  • The importance of data centre operators embracing Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) responsibilities and the realistic prospects of achieving carbon-neutral data centres
  • How data and analytics can drive efficiencies during the construction of data centres and help them run more sustainably and effectively once in operation
  • The significant impact of the current widespread skills shortage on the sector and the grassroots approach needed to better promote the sector to workers
  • How the rise in “edge” data centres (smaller facilities located close to the populations they serve) has presented risks and opportunities concerning ESG

Tom Karemacher, vice president of APAC, Procore, commented, “Data centres form the backbone of our digital society, so it’s great to see industry leaders coming together to unpack the challenges facing the sector and discuss solutions to future-proof these facilities.

“With the skilled labour shortage affecting every segment of construction and ESG measures becoming non-negotiable, Procore is proud to support our customers with technology that enables them to maximise their resources and keep track of their ESG commitments and outcomes. We look forward to seeing growth in this area as more companies understand the value of data in helping to reduce emissions in the industry.”

SAP Ariba

SAP published findings from a survey examining the state of US supply chains in 2023. It looks at the current issues faced with global political unrest (58%), lack of raw materials (44%) and rising fuel and energy costs (40%). While only 31% cited inflation, the rising fuel and energy costs may indicate that it is a bigger concern. Costs are also a concern, with 58% facing revenue declines, 54% considering business loans and 50% finding wage costs an issue. To address these challenges, wage freezes (61%) and staff cuts (50%) are more popular than price increases (41%).

As the holiday season approaches, firms  are considering their competitive differentiation, with the top three:

  • Speed of delivery (64%)
  • The excellence of customer service (57%)
  • Availability of products (52%)

To address the supply chain issues, many organisations are turning to technology (74%), while others are looking to prioritise US-based supply chains (60%).

Scott Russell, Member of the Executive Board of SAP SE, Customer Success, said, “The move to ‘just in case’ means organizations will be storing more inventory to help meet customer demand, but doing so also means increased cost.

“Managing the supply chain is a constant balancing act. Over the last couple of decades, the ‘just in time’ approach traded resiliency for efficiency and lower costs, which in turn made the supply chain fragile. The pandemic and the snowball effect of related disruptions exposed this fragility, which has organizations refocused on resiliency. Still, cost remains a factor, especially in the current economic environment. Technology can help organizations strike the right balance by enabling more real-time collaboration between trading partners.”

SAP

SAP has published findings relating to the UK in its second annual Sustainability Report. It found that while nine in ten organisations connect long-term profitability with sustainability, few are relying on data-driven decisions.

There is progress from the previous report, with 14% seeing a moderately positive link between profit and purpose. The change may not be driven by environmental concern but by the bottom line, with 69% of UK business leaders saying the rising cost of resources is already impacting, or threatening to impact, their organisation.

Why are so few organisations using data-driven decisions. Only 8% of UK businesses are completely satisfied with the quality of their data. The report offers four actions leaders can take:

  • Build a holistic view of the ESG truth
  • Design and produce products responsibly
  • Integrate all of your stakeholders, partners and customers
  • Synchronise supply chain planning

Michiel Verhoeven, managing director, SAP UKI, said, “In a macro-economic environment filled with uncertainty, taking action to improve the environment can restore balance and fundamentally improve the bottom line. Whether that’s transitioning to renewable energy and reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, or streamlining supply chains to address product shortages.”

ThoughtSpot

In partnership with Sapio Research, ThoughtSpot has looked at the state of spreadsheet usage across businesses. While many organisations consider spreadsheets their biggest competitor, few have analysed their usage, and the survey presents some interesting findings.

  • 70% of business people are not proficient in spreadsheets despite users spending 20 hours a month on average in them
  • 92% of business people need to manipulate their spreadsheet data to make it understandable
  • 40% of them often struggle to make sense of their data in these sheets

Sean Zinsmeister, SVP of Product Marketing at ThoughtSpot, commented, “Spreadsheets really aren’t for everybody. Just like data analysts can easily be lumped into one bucket, not everybody has the same proficiency with spreadsheets. These research findings make it clear that while billions of Google Sheets users are still hosting their modern analytics in spreadsheets, it’s really hard for most people to ask questions and visualize their data quickly. The question then becomes, how do you make spreadsheet data more easy to use and more accessible?

“That’s our goal with launching ThoughtSpot for Sheets, let’s make true self-service analytics a reality for every person by bringing intuitive search, drill down and visualizations to Google Sheets users so they can back every decision they make with data.”

Xero

Xero has published its Small Business Index for Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and the US. The index rose six points in Australia, fuelled by strong job growth (+10.2%) and high wages (4.6% YoY). Sales growth fell from 20.4% to 8.8%, though. Will Buckley, country manager, Xero Australia, said, “The September data shows a fantastic result for jobs growth across all industries, with this month hitting the first double-digit growth in over a year, paired with the largest wages growth since our index started.

“It’s so encouraging to see Australia’s small businesses not only having the confidence in their future to be hiring new staff but competing with larger organisations in attracting talent by paying higher wages.”

New Zealand’s situation is even better; jobs rose 8.5%, and sales growth was 14.98% YoY, well ahead of inflation.

In Canada, the quarterly report indicated that sales growth has slowed and fallen in real terms, although businesses were paid faster. In the US, sales also slowed, and payments were slower. Chris O’Neill, chief growth officer at Xero, said, “The average consumer is finding themselves with less spending money after each paycheck thanks to wage stagnation mixed with rising rents, food prices, energy prices and more. This is leaving less income each month for consumers to spend shopping at small businesses after taking care of the essentials. This means, in aggregate, customers – both those of small business and beyond – are buying fewer goods today than they were a year ago.”

In the UK, late payments are increasing again to an average of 8.2 days, the worst since August 2020. Sales growth has slowed to its lowest rate for a year to 3.6%. Accounting for inflation, it means sales are effectively falling. There was also a decline in employment by 4% YoY, the sixth consecutive monthly decline.

Alex von Schirmeister, UK managing director, Xero, said, “The reversal of the tax measures announced in the last Government’s mini-budget has left small businesses in limbo at a time when they need stability. It’s critical that they are paid on time so they can manage their cash flow and handle rising costs. We urge our new Government to ensure that hard-working owners of these small businesses are protected.

“We need to see tougher penalties for those big businesses flouting agreed payment terms, and policies implemented that require more transparency in regulation and reporting around late payments.”

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